Warwickshire remain on course

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Warwickshire continued their progress towards winning the LV= County Championship Division One title this week on day two versus Worcestershire.

The leaders gained the fourth batting bonus point they needed to ensure victory at New Road will earn the crown with a game to spare, thanks largely to opening batsman Varun Chopra’s 195.

Replying to the hosts’ paltry 60, Chopra resumed on 115 of 215 for two and was sixth out with the fourth batting point in the bag. Captain Jim Troughton earlier moved from 29 overnight to 54, adding 131 with Chopra.

On-loan Ian Blackwell’s 81-ball 84 helped earn maximum bonus points before the visitors declared on 471 for eight.

Keith Barker, who took five first-innings wickets, removed Phil Hughes for a duck but skipper Daryl Mitchell and Matthew Pardoe added 76 before the latter fell to Rikki Clarke for 35. Mitchell closed with 42 of 100 for two, his bottom-placed side looking doomed as they trail by 311.

Varun Chopra & Ben Cox

Varun Chopra moves towards his eventual 195 as Warwickshire gained the fourth batting point that means victory will bring the title

Second-placed Sussex, who by being dismissed for 221 yesterday meant Warwickshire can win the title this week, fought back to take control against Somerset at the PROBIZ County Ground.

The visitors picked up on 30 for one and two more breakthroughs for Steve Magoffin plus three each for Lewis Hatchett and Monty Panesar saw them dismissed for 134.

Following two early wickets, Chris Nash’s unbeaten 106 and Murray Goodwin’s 51 not out steered the hosts to 186 for two by stumps - a lead of 273.

Nottinghamshire - whose title hopes dwindled with two draws in their last two matches - face a first-innings deficit of 42 versus relegation-threatened Surrey at the Kia Oval.

The hosts this morning gained a second batting point by advancing from 242 for nine to 269 all out. Two wickets each for Stuart Meaker and Tim Linley then helped to reduce Notts to 60 for five.

Captain Chris Read and Sam Wood rebuilt with an alliance of 92 until the latter, on 45, became the second of Murali Kartik’s three victims. Read was unbeaten on 85 as Linley completed figures of 5-62 to dismiss the visitors for 227 and herald the close of play.

Lancashire, who occupy the relegation zone with Worcestershire, kept alive faint hopes of beating Middlesex at Lord’s with sterling batting display.

The hosts yesterday racked up 389 for six, yet Neil Dexter could add only two to his 123 before being caught behind off Glen Chapple. Steven Crook went from 45 overnight to 66, but Chapple mopped up the tail en route to 5-86.

Replying to 446, Luke Procter and Tom Smith began well although both fell with the score on 95, for 30 and 55 respectively. Paul Horton and Ashwell Prince picked up the baton with a partnership worth 130 until Crook had the former caught behind for 64. Prince closed with 57 of 236 for three, 210 behind.

Chris Nash

Chris Nash's unbeaten ton aided second-placed Sussex's pursuit of victory over Somerset at the PROBIZ County Ground

Division Two leaders Derbyshire could scrape just a solitary batting bonus point but pegged third-placed Kent back at Canterbury.

Derbyshire lost four wickets for 36 runs after lunch, including that of captain Wayne Madsen who was bowled for 64 to be one of seamer Mark Davies' five victims.

A fifty partnership for the ninth wicket between wicketkeeper Tom Poynton and Tim Groenewald ensured the visitors remained in contention before the former was last man out for 45 in a total of 200.

Building on a first-innings lead of 61, Sam Northeast and Rob Key took Kent to 58 without loss, only for spin in the form of Durston and David Wainwright to claim three wickets for one run when the close came with the hosts 120 ahead.

Adam Lyth fell five short of second championship century this season, but contributions all the way down the order - including a ninth-wicket stand of 64 between Ryan Sidebottom and Steven Patterson - put second-place Yorkshire in charge against Glamorgan.

Sidebottom was dismissed for 35 by Jim Allenby, the pick of the Glamorgan bowlers with 4-61, to conclude Yorkshire's first innings at 344. That meant a lead of 72, and Patterson followed his 22 with the dismissals of Nick James and John Glover as the visitors stumbled to 27 for two.

A magnificent unbeaten century from Owais Shah left Essex in the driving seat against promotion-chasing Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl.

The hosts had designs on a handsome first-innings lead this morning, but the advantage was restricted to 49 as their last six wickets tumbled for 60 runs with England Under-19 paceman Reece Topley taking three wickets.

From there Shah took his cue, amassing 20 fours and a six in an exhilarating 124. He was ably supported by Jaik Mickleburgh, who fell for 73 shortly before Essex closed on 217 for two to lead by 168.

Ian Cockbain's 99 and Will Gidman's 52 not out completed a miserable second day for Northamptonshire versus bottom side Gloucestershire at Bristol.

James Fuller produced a first-class-best 5-29 as Northants were skittled for 100 in response to 220, an advantage Ian Cockbain’s 99 and Will Gidman’s unbeaten 52 helped to embellish to 406 when they returned to the pavilion on a healthy 286 for six.

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